The Teacher View - using technology in the classroom

So following on from my recent post on how students perceived e-safety, I’ve also done a survey of staff in school, in order to find out how teachers perceive the current risks and how they use technology.

I'm a big advocate of online tools, I'm a sucker for signing up to find out what it's all about (then deleting my profile when I never use it of course), but as an ICT Teacher I’m also aware of the inherent risks of what I put online and how I am perceived. I think this is a big issue for teachers as pre-Internet you used to be a bit uncomfortable if a student saw you out at the weekend, now they can find out all they want an more with a bit of work on Google!

A lot of staff realise the use of ICT and social media tools and how they could be used in education to enhance lessons, however are very aware that the students probably know more than they do about how to interact with these media. There are some brilliant ideas out there of how to embed media into subjects like history, like this one from Fractus Learning, but there is a lot of mis-information and lack of training. Teachers when asked were really keen to use the media (65% of my school wanted ideas on how to embed social media in the classroom), but it was also felt that there was a trepidation and fear as to how to use it and "not get in trouble".

As an ICT Teacher, and tech enthusiast I feel like I have a bit of a leg up in this area, and I discuss how other schools have done work like this via my twitter account. Yes, I have a YouTube channel for uploading video, I have also set up a school twitter feed, but was very careful as to how I did this in order to make sure I was transparent in its use. Read about how I did it.

Recently I’ve been using the 360safe website in order to analyse how schools can embed social media technology in the school and as long as there is clear, laid out policies and advice on how to implement the tools, then this can avoid issues.

As one of my colleagues so brilliantly put it: "Technology should NOT be demonized as it is full of great good things for the kids - and I know they have to be aware and parents too - but I think we should fill their heads with the good it holds rather than be majorly focused on the bad that could happen! "

In this world of social media, schools must look to making sure that there is policy and advice for teachers using these tools to enhance student's education, but also to make sure that teachers and staff are trained to avoid issues that can come with using websites that are not developed and run by the school.

Written by Ben Gristwood on March 25, 2013 14:59

What is ask.fm?

ask.fm is an online question and answer website, which has been in the news recently due to links to cyberbullying and two tragic teen suicides in Ireland. So why is the site so controversial?

Anonymity. It is sad but true that people are far more likely to post negative or abusive comments online if they are able to do so anonymously. Ask.fm allows users to do this, meaning that anyone can say anything they want. As a result you get posts such as “why are you boring and stupid?” (posted onto the profile of a teenage girl), “who would you f**k at our school?” (on the profile of a teenage boy) and “One good reason you should live” (on the profile of a 16 year old girl).

Tip: If your students use ask.fm, recommend that the ability to answer anonymous questions is disabled in their account settings.

Unmoderated content. As you can tell from the questions above, the site is not moderated, so there is no-one sitting in ask.fm’s office with responsibility for removing offending posts. As they state in their terms and conditions “You understand that in using the ask.fm service you may encounter content that may be deemed objectionable, obscene or in poor taste, which content may or may not be identified as having explicit language. The ask.fm service allows for anonymous content which ask.fm does not monitor. You agree to use the ask.fm service at your own risk and that ask.fm shall have no liability to you for content that you may find objectionable, obscene or in poor taste.”

Minimum age. The minimum age to use the site is 13, two years younger than Facebook. This inevitably means that children younger than 13 are using the site. This is the core of the controversy around ask.fm - presenting young teens with the opportunity to post online in an unmoderated environment where they can post anonymously is asking for trouble.

ask.fm is the brainchild of web entrepreneur Mark Terebin, who is based in Latvia. In the face of media criticism of his site, he has denied any responsibility, blaming a lack of “…values in families and schools” for the bullying, suicides and suicide attempts linked to ask.fm. The website, he claims is “…just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network, same as phone, same as piece of paper and pen.”

ask.fm lesson

Talk to your students about ask.fm, and ask them if they understand why the site is in the news. Use it as a discussion point on the topic of online safety and cyberbullying, and encourage the students to challenge the way the site works if they think it is wrong, or could be improved. Use the site as a way of exploring issues and asking the questions:


  • Can online comments really make someone suicidal?

  • Why do people post negative comments online?

  • What do they think of Mark Terebin's comments about the site?

  • Should ask.fm be banned from school networks?


ask.fm into policy and practice

The outcome of these discussions could be incorporated into your school e-safety policy, or students could draft recommendations to be emailed to parents who may be concerned about this issue.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on March 25, 2013 14:59

The Student View

I've been working closely now with Digital Leaders for about 2 months now and it's been fascinating seeing how students work and engage with the internet and social media. As much as these are really good students and tech-savvy with ICT, it has been enthralling to see how they go about engaging with each other on the internet and using the tools available. The nature of this group also allows me to have more full and frank debates on the topic of e-safety outside of normal class discussions.

When discussing e-safety with the students, I was surprised to see how little they actually cared about this issue. They actually understood the idea of child protection, and stated that they had been told this from a really young age. I guess this is the same principal as 'don't talk to strangers' in primary school, and by the time the students had reached year 9/10 they actually didn't seem that bothered. One of the things I did ask them was how they thought they were perceived on the internet (the idea of digital dirt) and again, this didn't seem to bother them. However, when I suggested finding an open student profile and displaying it in the classroom they seemed mortified, so maybe this is a way of showing them how they show themselves to the wider world.

However, I also discussed with them something we covered this year in the areas of viruses, spyware, malware etc. and they said this was one of the more interesting takes on e-safety that they have had this year. They found this more insightful and said they were more likely to think about how they use Facebook in the future than before with the idea of online predators (I did a starter activity on Digital Forensics and the students really loved it!)

Of course, online predators is one aspect of e-safety not to be overlooked, but maybe we should challenge how we approach this topic. The idea that people are watching you on the internet is a scary thing, but nowadays with the sheer amount of information that we (all) are used to putting online, maybe we should revisit the idea of e-safety. Should the idea be to tell students not to put personal details online OR should we teach them what happens when we do and let them make their own educated decision?

Written by Ben Gristwood on March 25, 2013 14:59


Join Safeguarding Essentials

  • Protect your pupils
  • Support your teachers
  • Deliver outstanding practice

Recent Stories
Story Tags
addiction anti_bullying_alliance #antibullyingweek anti-radicalisation apps ask.fm assembly avatars awards awareness bett Breck_Foundation bug bullying BYOD calendar cber_bullying censorship ceop chatfoss checklist child child_exploitation childline childnet child_protection childwise christmas ClassDojo classroom competition cookies CPD creepshot CSE curriculum cyberbullying cyber_bullying cyber_crime cybersmile_foundation cybersurvey data_protection DCMS Demos development devices DfE digital_citizenship digital_footprint digital_forensics digital_leaders digital_literacy digital_native digital_reputation digital_wellbeing ecadets eCadets education e-learning emoticon e-safe esafety e-safety e-safety, e-safety_support #esscomp #esstips ethics events exa exploitation extreemism extremism extremism, facebook fake_news fantastict fapchat FAPZ film filtering freemium friendly_wifi gaming GDPR #GetSafeOnline glossary GoBubble gogadgetfree google governor grooming #GSODay2016 guidance hacker hacking icon information innovation inspection instagram instragram internet internet_matters internet_of_things internet_safety into_film ipad iphone ipod irights IWF KCSIE #KeepMeSafe knife_crime language leetspeak lesson like linkedin live_streaming lscb malware media mental_health mobile momo monitor monitoring naace national_safeguarding_month navigation neknominate netiquette network news NHCAW nomophobia nspcc NWG ofcom offline ofsted omegle online online_safety oracle parents phishing phone Point2Protect policy pornography power_for_good pressure PREVENT primary privacy professional_development protection PSHE #pupilvoiceweek radicalisation ratting rdi relationships reporting research risk robots RSE RSPH safeguarding safeguarding, safer_internet_day safety SCD2015 #SCD2016 school screen_time sdfsdf security self-harm selfie sexting sextortion ShareAware sid SID SID2016 SID2017 SID2018 SID2019 smartphone snapchat snappening social_media social_media, social_networking staff staff_training #standuptobullying statutory_guidance Stop_CSE stop_cyberbullying_day stress students survey swgfl SWGfL tablet teach teachers technology terrorism texting tootoot training TrainingSchoolz TrainingToolz trends troll trolling twitter UKCCIS uk_safer_internet_centre UK_youth unplug2015 video virus VPN webinar website we_protect what_is_e-safety wifi wi-fi windows wizard working_together yik_yak young_people youthworks youtube YPSI yubo
Archive